Last night I went to see Dream Theatre Company's seasonal favorite, A Christmas Carol: An Evening of Dickensian Delights.
It's written and directed by my friend, Rachel Martindale, and I thought this was the best incarnation ever. It's the same 3 performers from last year, but with newly constructed accoutrements for the ghosts. You can see a ghostly skeletal hand below:
This is a very literary adaptation, using only Dickens's own words. Each time I attend I hear something new. He had the gift of the gab, that Dickens did. The acting is excellent, which is what you always expect at Dream. It's a tale of supernatural intervention, of course, but this is not a production loaded up with special effects. It's a production that expects you to listen to the words and imagine a lot of things yourself.
Scrooge is an interesting character, the fabulous miser, a type who has fascinated storytellers at least since Plautus wrote The Pot Of Gold. Scrooge mouths some slogans from the "dismal science" school of political economy, but he's not really an ideologue in his motivation.
When we visit Christmas Past, he and his (soon to be ex-) fiancee give the best indication of what has driven him.
He begins by making an accurate observation about the hypocrisy of social opinion:
Scrooge: “There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!”
But she replies with psychological insight:
Belle: “You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach.”
He fears the reproach of the world. He dreads being scorned for poverty. And so he lives practically as a pauper, sitting on a pile of money, spending almost nothing on himself, or friends, or family.
That's what makes misers funny.
They sit on a pot of money,
And moan that life is not sunny.